Tots take a walk for Isla

Children, parents and staff from Bluebell Lodge Nursery took part in a sponsored walk along the promenade at South Beach to raise money for Isla Pickup (below).
Children, parents and staff from Bluebell Lodge Nursery took part in a sponsored walk along the promenade at South Beach to raise money for Isla Pickup (below).
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Tiny toddlers stretched their legs across the Promenade at South Beach in a bid to raise money for a friend with Down’s syndrome.

The youngsters, from Bluebell Lodge Nursery, along with parents and nursery staff, walked from the giant Glitterball in South Shore to South Pier to raise funds for a support worker for Isla Pickup.

Isla Pickup

Isla Pickup

Three-year-old Isla was born with Down’s syndrome, which can affect her understanding, communication and concentration.

But her proud mum Gemma, 29, said staff at her nursery have done everything to ensure her little girl has the same opportunities as others.

Now they are hoping to raise £3,000 for Isla to have a one-to-one support worker for her last nine months at nursery to make sure she is up to speed ready to start 
primary school.

Sophie Priestley, manager of the nursery, on St Annes Road, said: “As she starts school in the coming September we felt like it was us as a nursery that needed to give her the best start in life and this is why we took part in the fund-raising walk.”

Isla’s parents Gemma and Andrew, 36, from South Shore, are hoping she will be able to go to a special school in September 2014 and have been preparing information for a statement, helped by nursery staff.

Gemma said: “Isla started at Bluebell as a baby and they’ve been fantastic, they’ve kept her with her peers and she’s come on in leaps and bounds.

“The girls have been fantastic and they’ve got stuff ready for her statement.”

The nursery hopes to raise the £3,000 in order to employ a new member of staff from January 2014 who will work closely with Isla.

Gemma, who has previously worked as a nursery nurse, said: “She is a bit of a handful and it takes her a bit of time.

“Nursery came up with the fantastic idea to raise money for Isla and also a summer house for all the children.

“It warms your heart. It’s unbelievable, the times we’re in, people are struggling, but when you ask people for help they’re more than willing.

“To have a support worker would be incredible, it’d take pressure off the nursery staff and her communication, understanding and listening might be better.”

The nursery will berunning a raffle at its Christmas fair on December 7 to raise more money.

To donate prizes, call (01253) 407172.

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